NEW YORK – James Patterson's next stop on his literacy crusade is Baltimore.
The best-selling author, who has donated millions of dollars to bookstores and libraries nationwide and formed his own publishing imprint, is visiting Baltimore next week and will donate 25,000 copies of his illustrated children's book "Public School Superhero," the heroic adventures of a black sixth grader. Patterson told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the uprising following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody made him anxious to come to Baltimore.
"I like the city very much, and I think part of the reason is that it reminds me of where I grew up, Newburgh (in New York), which is a smaller but also very tough river town," Patterson said during a telephone interview.
"So watching what's been happening to kids in Baltimore made me think, 'How I can help?' And I thought the best thing I can do is try to keep ringing the bell and get kids reading."
On Sept. 16, he plans to meet with civic leaders, including members of the city council and school and library officials, and with some 300 fifth graders. Patterson will be giving a copy of "Public School Superhero" to every Baltimore public school kid from grades 3 to 7.